For those of you who were born with an impairment, or have through illness, disease or old age, acquired one or more impairments… you have our empathy. One of your most considerable challenges is to get others to not define you by your impairment …and for people and your environment not to disable you further from living your life in the best way you can and contributing to society as fully as you can.
You are aware how little understanding there is about the complexity of your life, and others, living with an impairment. You appreciate the limitation of choices some people with impairments might have:- where they can go to school and study, how and where they work, and how and where they can socialise.
Undoubtedly for many of you it has been a lonely experience getting to grips with what limitation of choice you have, or how you adjust to your new surroundings, or learning about new barriers that disable you further. And for some of you, you live with a genuinely socially isolating experience every day.
So if you are one of the many people who feels lonely as a result of having a disability, or you know of someone who feels loneliness from this, then read on. In fact even if you suspect others might be lonely, and they stoically say they aren’t, it’s worth understanding loneliness and disability better.
Just as you might find it hard to understand how people who have no impairments can be lonely, it’s also hard for them to really grasp how very lonely you might be: what it’s like:
Having a physical, sensory, mental or learning impairment gives rise to many challenges with regard to feeling lonely…
… and in addition to these, you undoubtedly identify with many of the same loneliness problems that aren’t related to being disabled.
limited your ability to carry out everyday activities.
Our 2016 New Zealand General Social Survey has really highlighted how much people with a disability status experienced more loneliness than people without a disability status. So if you are amongst the 28.5% of people in this disability group that have felt lonely all of the time, most or even some of the last four weeks, we are concerned about your loneliness. And we feel much the same for you if you are one of the additional 21.3% that felt lonely a little of the time.
While people feel lonely for many reasons, and your feelings might be just as strong as anothers, we can understand that some impairments might cause a greater likelihood of loneliness. Examples include, you suddenly becoming fully deaf and being unable to easily communicate with the vast majority of the population. Being a senior with mobility and agility issues, combined with hearing and vision impairments, you are increasingly limited to where you can go unaided, and you decreasingly can easily participate in everyday conversations. Children with learning and speaking difficulties might feel more socially isolated, and can be on the receiving end of bullying – making loneliness significant.
Feeling socially isolated occurs when people, like you, are not connected into their communities in a meaningful way. Society, other people and we ourselves unwittingly contribute to loneliness.
To name a few, loneliness as a person who has a disability might be exacerbated when:
These are very real issues for you;
and some are not quick fixes! So despite these challenges it’s vital you actively find ways to ensure that you – and those around you – are emotionally healthy.
Some people talk about their loneliness; other’s don’t; Some might not recognise that they are actually suffering from loneliness.
Research has shown that when socially isolated people aren’t getting enough regular human contact that can create problems with their family members and people who they do end up talking to.
These are just the surface of the ways you might be showing signs of being lonely… and that you could recognise in others.
So where to from here?
you all have a unique story.
How long you have been lonely; What you believe causes your particular loneliness; and what you have already tried to alleviate the loneliness.
To get to the heart of your loneliness we would like to get to know you!
Your personality, your eccentricities, and your values are all part of what makes you feel your loneliness more than some others.
Your next step
We appreciate the trust you would place in us to talk openly and frankly – so we promise no judgements – genuine empathy, respect and confidentiality.
Then when we have understood you better, we can help you move forward. Help you form better connections with your spread out communities, with your friends and your families…wherever they are in the world.
If you are ready to take the next step, click the button to get started addressing your loneliness:
People feel lonely for many reasons. To learn more about other minority and lonely categories, select one of the coloured boxes below, or scroll down the “I’m feeling lonely” menu.
With our help you can conquer your loneliness by taking better care of your inner self.
And we can conquer loneliness in New Zealand by better understanding and accepting each other.
So when you are ready…click here.
We look forward to hearing your view of the world!